Modern Office Furniture

How to Feel Comfortable When Working at a Standing Desk

Autonomous Autonomous | Mar 5, 2018

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Do you use a stationary or portable standing desk at work? If so, you’re probably already a die-hard devotee of working at a standing desk and have long been trying to convert your friends and co-workers into the same ergonomic mindset. Maybe they feel like the last thing they want to do after a rush hour commute is stand up. Or, maybe they have tried it, but it felt so unfamiliar that they quickly returned to their status quo. After all, standing while working engages more muscles and blood flow than you’re used to using for your desk-based tasks, and it can take some time for your body to adjust. Many standing desk novices struggle with occasional discomfort when they’re starting out with a standing desk.

There are some quick tricks to optimize the performance of your standing desk. Buying the furniture is just the first step. You’ve got to couple it with other ingredients to make your workspace fully ergonomic, and couple these with some physical fine-tuning that will make working at a standing desk much more effective. 

12 Tips for Using Your Standing Desk Like a Pro

Some ways feel more comfortable with a standing desk

Adapt your desk to your body

Your desk and body height should be perfectly in sync. Your arm should reach your mouse and keyboard at a comfortable 90-degree angle. Focusing on your monitor shouldn’t involve straining your neck or your eyes. Most office furniture is designed for people who fall within a height range of 5’5” to 5’9”, so if you’re taller or shorter, you may need to invest in a more customized standing desk solution. This applies to your ergonomic chair as well. Ideally, your entire ergonomic toolkit should be adjustable but stable.

Make sure your standing desk at work is suited to your specific tasks and body movements

How many tasks will you be using the desk for? Heavy word processing uses different muscular movements to technical drawing or chattering on long international conference calls. You will have to make sure to buy a versatile desk that’s roomy enough to happily host your specialised task set. Do you have enough tabletop space to not spill coffee on your contracts? If you constantly move between different worksites can your standing desk easily come with you?

Get the related ergonomic furniture

What good is having an ergonomic standing desk and then undoing all your good intentions with an ill fitting keyboard, mouse and chair? A standing desk at work is a great investment, but ideally you’ve bought the kind that transitions easily back and forth between standing and sitting. This means that you’ll want to make sure your chair is ergonomic, as well. If you don’t always want to recline into the comfort of an ergonomic office chair, and want to stay active even when seated, try an ergo stool like this one from Autonomous. Even better yet, you could try their office bike. Your keyboard and mouse should also be ergonomic, especially if you do a ton of clicking while working at a standing desk. Power users like coders and copywriters need to think carefully about their wrists and shoulders. You can support these muscles with additional kit like ergonomic wrist rests. If you need your monitor to stand taller than your standing desk at work, consider getting a monitor extension as well. Autonomous’s monitor arm has 360-degree rotation and a vertical range of 20 inches, designed for a flexible workstation. Peering up or down at your stresses your neck, and your standing desk at work may not offer enough monitor height to eliminate this cause of eye strain.

A supportive food pad ensures your circulation is working from head to toe. Autonomous has a great anti-fatigue standing support mat that keeps your spine balanced at specific support angles. Its sloped, ridged surface with a two-inch rise helps to relieve foot pain and counter the strain of any office footwear. Luckily, comfortable ergonomic shoes have gained market traction in the last 20 years, which means they’re becoming more style-savvy. You can go the route of MBTs, or some professional looking fit-flops—these are shoes that keep your ankles working to stabilize you throughout the day. Even without special ergonomic features, a well-padded work shoe with structured ankle support is much better for your foot and leg health than pointy stilettos or too-flat ballet pumps.

Change your posture and ergonomic settings often

In addition to getting the right adjustable furniture for your specific work habits, you’ll need to change posture throughout the day while you’re working at a standing desk, to prevent your body from locking into a static pose. You should adopt different positions that accommodate resting, working and your lunch hour gossip. Speaking of downtime - you should stand up, stretch, and move at least every 60-90 minutes. Taking regular breaks is important for the entire body — the brain is a muscle, too, after all. Autonomous’s SmartDesk 3 includes an app that knows when you’ve been sitting for this long, and will send reminders to take breaks and even order meals. Many offices have also adopted the philosophy of walking meetings. Instead of summoning your co-workers to a stuffy meeting room, try taking a one-hour walk in the surrounding area. Throughout history, walking discussions have been a major part of business and pedagogy, and the brain is proven to get its ideas across better while the entire body is standing and in motion.

Align your physical and mental activity by working at a standing desk. Taking the steps above will make working at a standing desk much more comfortable, ensuring you get the full benefits of your new investment. Better your environment by considering what type of desk will work with you, and incorporate the compatible accessories into your ergonomic workstation. It may take some getting used to, but the long-term boost in physical and mental agility will outweigh any initial uncertainty. Share all your new insider info, you’ll get your co-workers on their feet in no time.

Related article:

Top 8 Standing Desk Mistakes & How to Correct Them

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